The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) are joining forces to promote a global campaign urging travellers to support the fight against a number of forms of trafficking.
Plans for the campaign were announced during this year’s International Tourism Bourse (ITB) in Berlin and saw both Sabre and Marriott International joining the effort as launch partners in the travel industry — supporting the campaign by leveraging on their reach to millions of travellers worldwide.
“Your Actions Count — Be a Responsible Traveller” aims to raise awareness about the most common illicit goods and services that tourists might be exposed to while travelling. The campaign provides guidance to recognize possible situations of trafficking in persons, wildlife, cultural artifacts, illicit drugs and counterfeit goods, and invites travellers to take action through responsible consumer choices.
UNWTO secretary-general, Taleb Rifai observed at the launch, “Tourists are global citizens and with over one billion tourists travelling the world each year they must become a force for good. Making the right ethical choice as consumers reduces the demand for illegal products and contributes to preserve natural and cultural assets that form an invaluable part of the heritage of the communities and people we visit.”
While UNODC executive director, Yury Fedotov emphasized the importance of informing travellers about where their money ends up when buying illicit products, “Travellers have a responsibility not to contribute to the profits being generated through organized crime. Whether it relates to the sale of people, animal products, drugs, cultural artifacts or counterfeit goods, it is important that travellers fully understand the exploitative nature of these activities. Awareness campaigns such as this one are critical if potential consumers are to be informed about the adverse effects of their purchasing decisions.”
Irina Bokova, director-general of UNESCO, pointed out that protecting cultural heritage is inseparable from protecting people, “Tourists are easy targets for dealers selling cultural artifacts of doubtful provenance. They are usually unaware that these ‘souvenirs’ may be stolen heritage — ripped away from their original settings, illegally excavated from archeological sites, or traded by unscrupulous individuals offering meagre payment.”
Bokova added, “Their loss can inflict great damage and sorrow on their rightful owners, for whom such items are an intrinsic part of their cultural identities and values.”
“Your Actions Count — Be a Responsible Traveller” is in line with the UN’s goal of combating organized crime as well as upholding the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism.
For its part, Marriott International will share the anti-trafficking message with its guests, employees and Marriott Reward Members through its internal and external web sites and news bulletins, reservation confirmation emails, Marriott Rewards member newsletters and blog and social media. Sabre will support the campaign with four consumer-facing businesses and/or products — Travelocity, lastminute.com, TripCase and GetThere — as well communicating externally to their stakeholders and internally to their employees.
For more, go to http://www.bearesponsibletraveller.org or visit http://ethics.unwto.org/en/content/global-code-ethics-tourism .